A self-taught artist, Karel Verschuere was one of the first artists working in the studio of Willy Vandersteen. Verschuere was born in Borgerhout, in 1924. During World War II, he was sent to the eastfront and faught with the nazis in Russia for four years. Back in Belgium he was sent to prison for four years for his role during the War. In the early 1950s, he began his own advertising firm with Herman Geerts, called Gevers.
Verschuere eventually found employment Studio Vandersteen in 1952. There, he specialized in realistic comics, which came in handy, since Vandersteen's strength was with the humorous comics. He became the main artist on the Biblical series 'Judi', that appeared in Ons Volkske. For the same magazine, he illustrated 'Boeren Voorwaarts', 'Strijd om Land' and 'Voor Outer en Heerd'.
Bessy - De Spookhengst (1954)
He co-created the series 'Bessy' with Willy Vandersteen under the joint pseudonym of Wirel (Wi for Willy, Rel for Karel) in 1952. As one of Vandersteen's first co-workers, he was also one of the few who got co-credits and even a percentage of the royalties. 'Bessy' first appeared in the daily newspaper La Libre Belgique, but later also in Ons Volk, Katholieke Illustratie and Het Gazet van Antwerpen.
Verschuere also showed his skills in the co-creation of series like 'Karl May', 'De Rode Ridder', and 'Biggles'. In 1966, he was assigned head of the 'Bessy' studio in Antwerp, that had to produce one story a week for the German publisher Bastei. Verschuere left the studios in 1967. He started working independently, and created comics like 'De Avonturen van Koen de Wilde' in Kleine Zondagsvriend in 1954, the albums 'Het Leven van St. Antonius van Padua' and 'De Avonturen van Klavervier' in 1961 and 1963, as well as two 'Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul' in Spirou.
Buffalo Bill - Der Rote Bison von Truckee Line
He launched 'Buffalo Bill' with scripts by Rik Dierckx for publisher De Goudvink in Schelle in 1967, but Verschuere left the series after only four albums. Two subsequent stories were illustrated by Perry Cotta. After a brief return to the 'Bessy' studio in 1969, Verschuere began working for the German publisher Erich Pabel on his own, taking with him Eduard De Rop, Karel Boumans and Erik Vandemeulebroucke to form Studio Verschuere.
Tom Berry by Studio Verschuere
The studios produced the humorous western 'Tom Berry', as well as the realistic comic 'Die Abentteuer von Jimmy Carter und Adlerfeder'. However, Verschuere's co-workers left him after a disagreement on the payment, and Verschuere had to cancel his production for the Germans.
Afterwards, he did the cowboy series 'Sam D. Howard' in Het Laatste Nieuws in 1972, followed by two stories with 'Miguel' for the weekly De Post. He eventually broke with the comics world and went to work at the Rent-a-Car service of Peugot and for Daniel Construction Company International. For the personel's magazine of the latter, he did however draw the gag strip 'Pampers Baby'. Karel Verschuere died from cancer in 1982.
De Rode Ridder